Newsted: ‘I know I was a dick’
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted admits he was a “dick” during the band’s Black Album era – but he’s learned from his experiences.
He’s currently gearing up for the first release from his solo band Newsted, ushering in a new phase in his career after he finally got over his time with the thrash giants.
Newsted tells Sonic Excess: “I had my times with my ego when I couldn’t fit my head though the door. Like in the years with the Black Album, forget about it. I’ll be the first one to admit it: I know I was a dick – but I learned from that.
“I learned from the best what not to do. I toured with Guns n’Roses, don’t forget!”
These days Newsted says he’s grateful for fan’s support and he tries hard to reward their faith – and that includes trying to respond personally to as many Facebook comments as he can.
“We’ve been doing 14-16 hour days in the studio, and then I try and get on for an hour when I get home at night,” he explains. “When the fans write something like, ‘When you are making music, the world is a better place…’ I make metal, but that melts me man. You can’t ignore that kind of compassion, that kind of genuine respect.
“I’m not going to let that go by and not pay attention to it, not them think it didn’t mean something, because it did.
“That’s what success is. You can measure by dollars and millions of records and that’s great, but the measure of it is how you can move people.”
With his new band he’s aiming to replicate the vibe of earlier Metallica material, from albums like Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning. And he admits the inspiration to pursue that ambition came about after he appeared with his former bandmates as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations in 2011.
Newsted says: “Lars had called me and said, ‘Do you want to jam?’ I said, ‘What time do you want me there?’ I hadn’t seen them since the Hall of Fame thing anyway.
“He said, ‘What songs do you want to play?’ and I said, ‘You pick the fastest one, dude.’ We took the 14 fastest ones. I rocked a few each night, and we had a good time.
“What came from it was the realisation of the energy of the fans. There were probably 30-35 countries represented on the floor that week. The energy I got back, and the appreciation, the real, true fandom, and being able to look into people’s eyes, made me think it could happen again.
“Maybe I could bring it out on my own and sing, play bass, play guitar, and do my own stuff. Make it fast and make it ugly, like old Metallica and the old Flotsam and Jetsam records. Make real, old school metal.”
Meanwhile, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has confirmed they’re working on the follow-up to 2008′s Death Magnetic, and the material is a continuation of that feel.
He tells Metal Hammer: “The stuff we were banging out yesterday, it felt heavy, it felt energetic, it was loud, fast, rocking, it was crazy.
“The snare drum was on there and there were guitar solos, in case anybody was wondering. What we’re doing now certainly sounds like a continuation of where we left off four years ago.”